76-YEAR-OLD Chas Phipps, a world record-holding marathon water skier, is to make a comeback on the River Severn to raise money for the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA).

Phipps, from Gloucester, will perform a series of long distance water skiing events up the River Severn in the coming weeks.

He was nicknamed the Severn King after receiving worldwide acclaim for his daring feats of water ski endurance throughout the late 1960s and into the 1980s.

Many of these records, such as 100 miles and 330 miles ‘non-stop’, were set on the River Severn and Severn Estuary.

Now Phipps will return to the River Severn to raise money for SARA, and as an act of remembrance for his driver of many years, George Price, who has since died. The events will include one distance run and two others during the summer months, with a date to be set in the next few weeks.

An exact replica of the DRIVER 560 power-boat used in the late 70’s and early 80’s is to be used, which has been rebuilt and refitted by the current driver Chris Ader.

A book featuring the story of SARA and the many skiing exploits of Phipps is to be produced to add to the fundraising drive.

A spokesperson for Phipps said: “The pinnacle of his career was achieved on 4th October 1969 when he water skied on Lake Windermere for 473 miles non-stop over a period of 15 hours.

“This involved skiing in the dark which has since been banned by the world federation. Cross Channel records followed and many events were performed around the British Isles in support of various charities, which were catalogued by various regional TV stations.

“One of these was a trip from Newbiggan in Northumberland to Hartlepool on the North Sea in conditions that looked quite impossible as the skier was unable to see the boat towing him for minutes at a time.

“As landlord of the Royal Oak Inn in the Forest of Dean, Phipps, together with the late Jo Barnes, raised funds for SARA during 2015 with a series of outdoor events during the summer in the grounds of the pub.

“It is now hoped that this latest effort will raise serious monies for his favourite charity.

“Fortunately Phipps and his team has never had to call for rescue assistance in a lifetime of boating, which included many fund-raising events for Leukaemia Research, Cancer Research and The British Heart Foundation.

“However, the awareness that help was always at hand, is one of the reasons that Phipps wishes to raise the profile of these dedicated SARA personnel.

“As part of the training and equipment testing programme the slipway at Stonebench, near Gloucester, has kindly been offered as part of the sponsorship by Mike May.

“Mr May, a Gloucester business man, is himself an enthusiastic boatman.

“Incredibly this same slipway was used by Phipps and his team more than 46 years previous to film him in training for the world record on Lake Windermere.

“It is also where much of the TV coverage of many of these incredible events were filmed.”

Full details, including dates, will be announced shortly.

For more information and to donate visit www.gofundme.com/275yvpaz